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Coïncidence ?

08/06/2006 - par Mark Tungate

Writing this column is sometimes like being a spy. Not a glamorous spy, but a technician in a back room, analysing intelligence reports and trying to work out what they mean. Let's take two stories that caught my eye recently. First, British newspaper The Times announced that it was launching a new United States edition, with the hope of attracting 10,000 readers. Its editor Robert Thomson added that the newspaper's brand might be extended into other countries, too. I couldn't understand why this should work, given that The Times has a perfectly good online presence. And even though the new print editions of The Times will provide local news, they will have a hard time stealing readers from local media : The New York Times, for example.

Just as I was reflecting on this, I stumbled across a report from Group M, WPP's media holding company. It predicts that, in the UK, the internet will overtake national newspapers this year to become the third biggest advertising medium. And it will soon catch up with regional newspapers - the second biggest medium. (For now, TV is safe at the top.) Based on this information, the strategy of The Times became clearer. With advertising takings squeezed at home, it wants to seek additional revenue abroad. After all, broadcast media brands like MTV have been offering localised versions to advertisers for years. The Times is undoubtedly a powerful brand, but it will be interesting to see how global its appeal really is.

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